Ultimate Mac n Cheese Recipe

Health meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Welcome to our ultimate comfort food guide! Today, we’re bringing you the ultimate Mac n Cheese recipe that will leave you and your guests craving for more. This classic dish is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a cozy family dinner or a gathering with friends. Rich, creamy, and irresistibly cheesy, this Mac n Cheese is bound to be a hit. Let’s dive into the recipe!


  • 16 oz elbow macaroni (or any tubular pasta)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika (optional for a smoky flavor)


Step 1: Cook the Pasta

  1. Boil the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Cheese Sauce

  1. Make a Roux: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for about 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and bubbly.
  2. Add Milk: Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue to cook and whisk until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer.
  3. Add Cheese: Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Combine Pasta and Cheese Sauce

  1. Mix Together: Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, stirring until the pasta is evenly coated with the creamy sauce.

Step 4: Prepare the Breadcrumb Topping

  1. Toast Breadcrumbs: In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and stir until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove from heat and sprinkle with paprika if using.

Step 5: Bake the Mac n Cheese

  1. Assemble: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Transfer the mac n cheese to a baking dish and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs over the top.
  2. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Enjoy: Let the Mac n Cheese cool slightly before serving. Enjoy this creamy, cheesy delight as a main dish or a side.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Cheese Options: Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese. Gruyere, Parmesan, and Gouda all make excellent additions or substitutes.
  • Make-Ahead: You can prepare the Mac n Cheese up to the point of baking, then cover and refrigerate for up to a day. When ready to bake, let it come to room temperature and bake as directed.
  • Reheating: Reheat leftovers in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through, or in the microwave in individual portions.


Keto Version

To make a keto-friendly version, substitute the pasta with cauliflower florets. Use heavy cream instead of milk, and ensure the cheese is full-fat and low in carbs.

Low-Carb Version

For a lower-carb option, use a low-carb pasta alternative, such as shirataki noodles or a high-protein pasta made from lentils or chickpeas.

Gluten-Free Version

Substitute the elbow macaroni with gluten-free pasta, and use gluten-free flour in the cheese sauce. Ensure the panko breadcrumbs are also gluten-free.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use pre-shredded cheese?

While pre-shredded cheese is convenient, it often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the texture of the cheese sauce. For the best results, shred your cheese from a block.

How can I add more flavor to the Mac n Cheese?

Consider adding a dash of hot sauce or Dijon mustard to the cheese sauce for an extra kick. You can also stir in cooked bacon, caramelized onions, or sautéed mushrooms.

Can I freeze Mac n Cheese?

Yes, you can freeze Mac n Cheese. Assemble the dish but do not bake it. Cover it tightly and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

Is it necessary to bake the Mac n Cheese?

Baking adds a nice crispy topping and melds the flavors together, but you can skip this step if you’re in a hurry. Simply serve the stovetop version for a quicker meal.

What can I serve with Mac n Cheese?

Mac n Cheese pairs well with a fresh green salad, roasted vegetables, or garlic bread. It’s also great as a side dish for grilled meats.

This Ultimate Mac n Cheese recipe is the epitome of comfort food. Its creamy, cheesy goodness, combined with a crispy breadcrumb topping, makes it a favorite for all ages. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or try one of our suggested variations, this dish is sure to satisfy. Enjoy!

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